Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Put URA plan under the spotlight

    I am writing about the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency’s proposed plan, a plan shrouded in mystery and closed-door executive sessions, to exchange a lot located at 211 East First St. (the “211 Parcel”) acquired by the KURA in September 2007 (at an estimated all-in cost of $3 million) for a parcel or parcels of raw land lying west of Second Avenue, north of Sixth and south of Seventh streets, purportedly owned by Alex and Patricia Higgins et al (the “Higgins Lot,” with an assessed value of $830,00).
    The Higgins Lot is zoned General Residential-Low Density, i.e. duplex-zoned, allowing up to eight units on the lot. Insurable title to the Higgins Lot may be tainted by a 100-foot-wide railroad right of way transecting the lot. The proposed exchange contemplates up-zoning of the Higgins Lot to a build-out of 21 to 24 units designated affordable housing.
    On Oct. 28, 2009, the Idaho Mountain Express published an exceptionally well-written article entitled: “Putting Ketchum’s URA into context—Is there a good explanation for $5.56 million debt,” written by staff writer Trevon Milliard. The Express ought to put it back on Page 1 right away.
    Cherry picking the article: The people have granted the KURA sole power and authority to borrow large sums of money in the anticipation of some foggy future time when real estate tax revenues in excess of some “base level of real estate tax revenues” will be sufficient to service and pay-off the loans. Further, “URA’s are created to rehabilitate deteriorating areas in a city and promote healthy development.”  Allow me the observation that Ketchum is not Detroit. The KURA’s mission in Ketchum is not the textbook mission of Detroit’s URA.
    The KURA’s proposed exchange (exchange details not disclosed) of properties is so defective as to suggest the people have a rogue agency on the loose. The KURA’s finances, business plan and hierarchy of objectives are unknown. Until the KURA comes clean, it should slow down, table the exchange, disclose the overlapping composition of its membership, publish the details of its operations and justify the economics for its agenda of projects.
    If indeed the 2007 purchase of the 211 Parcel resulted from a genuine miscalculation, so be it. Ketchum proper as a group of pretty smart folks ought to be able to sort out the details, and figure a way out without doing something that is really silly.
    I understand Trevon Milliard is no longer with the Express but the Express should put an investigative reporter on the KURA issue and bring Milliard’s article and subtle (but critical) observations up to date.
Doug Kaiser


About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.